I’m a chronic nail-biter, but last game did me no favors in trying to stop my fixation. I have about no nails left. Actually, I think I have negative nails at this point. I owe my fingers some nails. Thanks, Cowboys-Steelers!
At some point, I’m gonna have to stop saying “We let the other team hang around too long…it’s going to bite us in the ass at some point.” I really do, because these Steelers have a habit of coming through games like this relatively unscathed. Yeah, the Cowboys moved the ball in the 3rd, but that was with the aid of the wind. I tried to keep my composure, knowing that any rally would have to come in the 4th, when WE had the wind. And that’s why I’ll start my ratings off with…
…Mike Tomlin. Man, I love how this guy constantly employs my Madden strategy, and ALWAYS defers to the Second Half when he wins the coin toss. In a place like Heinz Field, this is critical. Perhaps not so much when we’re in Baltimore next week, or Tennessee the week after, but this seemingly unimportant decision looms large when you play a minimum of 8 games next to the Confluence. I can’t fault Tomlin for the Cowboys making big defensive plays near the goal line…their team was on a mission (being on the outside of the playoffs will do that to some teams), and Tomlin stayed the course. He played the wind/field position game perfectly, and his playmakers stepped up to the challenge. The Steelers DID miss near the goal line, so I can’t give Tomlin a perfect score, so we’ll go with 4.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Sasso. His game was all-around meh, but Ben understood the urgency of the situation in the 4th, and brought his team back in it like he has many times before. Another near 50% completion game, with one passing TD to go with a lost fumble and 204 passing yards. No interceptions in the wind, so there’s that. And that 40+ yarder to Santonio was perfect, even though it was into the wind. Ben didn’t lose the game for us, which can’t be said about Romo. 3.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets for Ben. That First Half was tough to watch.
D. We got outworked by Dallas on many occasions. Their O clicked in the 3rd (partly due to the wind), and Tashard Choice displayed his talents against the top ranked defense. But the D didn’t cave when Dallas was moving, and refused to be completely outplayed by the ‘Boys. Silverback looked tired by the end of the game, but still got his usual sack and forced fumble. It’s pretty cool when I’m pretty indifferent about 9 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Overall, the unit had 3 sacks to go with 3 picks and 5 total turnovers. Dallas’ last play on 4th Down was huge, as they had 289 total team yards, and a conversion would’ve likely ended the streak of not allowing a 300 yard game this season. Big stop to keep the win and streak alive. They’ll mirror Tomlin here, and get 4.5 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
Deshea. He gets his own spot today because he quietly does his job with little problem and is always solid on the field. He rung up 3 tackles, but its nice to see a 65 year old vet like Deshea factor into the winning points. Romo served him up an easy pick, and he outraced a hobbled Jason Witten to the end zone. Deshea, you get a perfect 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets for the icing on the cake.
Mitch Berger. Negative 5 of 5 motorcycle helmets. I may owe myself some fingernails, but you owe me a bunch of motorcycle helmet ratings.
In Baltimore next week. The Ravens D is looking just as good as ours. Glad we got a 1-game lead going into this.